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Title: De novo centromere formation on chromosome fragments with an inactive centromere in maize (Zea mays)

The B chromosome of maize undergoes nondisjunction at the second pollen mitosis as part of its accumulation mechanism. Previous work identified 9-Bic-1 (9-B inactivated centromere-1), which comprises an epigenetically silenced B chromosome centromere that was translocated to the short arm of chromosome 9(9S). This chromosome is stable in isolation, but when normal B chromosomes are added to the genotype, it will attempt to undergo nondisjunction during the second pollen mitosis and usually fractures the chromosome in 9S. These broken chromosomes allow a test of whether the inactive centromere is reactivated or whether a de novo centromere is formed elsewhere on the chromosome to allow recovery of fragments. Breakpoint determination on the B chromosome and chromosome 9 showed that mini chromosome B1104 has the same breakpoint as 9-Bic-1 in the B centromere region and includes a portion of 9S. CENH3 binding was found on the B centromere region and on 9S, suggesting both centromere reactivation and de novo centromere formation. Another mini chromosome, B496, showed evidence of rearrangement, but it also only showed evidence for a de novo centromere. Other mini chromosome fragments recovered were directly derived from the B chromosome with breakpoints concentrated near the centromeric knob region, which more » suggests that the B chromosome is broken at a low frequency due to the failure of the sister chromatids to separate at the second pollen mitosis. Our results indicate that both reactivation and de novo centromere formation could occur on fragments derived from the progenitor possessing an inactive centromere.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Chromosome Research
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 313-325
Springer Science + Business Media
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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